Peter Berger , Seemi Bushra Ghazi , Lindon Eaves , Et Al. —
Evolving "Faith"

At the turn of the year, we look at how American culture's encounter with religious ideas and people has evolved in the past decade — and this radio project with it.

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Guests

is Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion and World Affairs at Boston University.

Seemi Bushra Ghazi

is a lecturer at the University of British Columbia, musician, and non-clerical reciter of the Qur'an.

is a geneticist at Virginia Commonwealth University and an Anglican priest.

is an educator, activist, and author of Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation.

is an Israeli who lives in Tel Aviv. She speaks with community groups about her experiences as part of the Parents Circle - Families Forum.

is a Palestinian who lives in the West Bank. He is a spokesman and project manager for the Parents Circle - Families Forum.

Joe Carter

was a celebrated performer, educator, and traveling humanitarian.

is a physician and cofounder of Joseph's House.

Khalid Kamau

grew up in Atlanta but now lives in New York City where he was a financial analyst for a nonprofit.

teaches in the graduate creative writing program at The New School in New York City.

is an archbishop emeritus and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

is an acoustic biologist and founder of The Elephant Listening Project.

is author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence and the founder and director of the non-profit organization Mind Body Solutions.

is the founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

is a rabbi in the Reform tradition of Judaism. His books include Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians.

Pertinent Posts

1

I am excited, and a little nervous, to share some big news. We are giving this adventure in conversation a new name. Starting September 16th, Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett is becoming Krista Tippett on Being.

1
August 14, 2010
Retrospective Shows

Globalization and the Rise of ReligionGlobalization and the Rise of Religion (released: 5/19/2005) Experts once predicted that as the world grew more modern, religion would decline. Precisely the opposite has proven true. Two leading thinkers, Boston University sociologist Peter Berger and Harvard Business School's Rosabeth Moss Kanter, discuss why religion of all kinds is increasingly shaping discussions of world politics and the global economy and political order.

The Spirit of IslamThe Spirit of Islam (released: 10/19/2001) We experience the religious thought and spiritual vitality of two Muslims — male and female — both American and both with roots in ancient Islamic cultural, intellectual, and spiritual traditions. They reveal how sound, music, and poetry offer a window into the subtleties and humanity of Islamic religious experience.

Evolution and WonderEvolution and Wonder (released: 7/20/2006) From the Scopes Trial to school board controversies in our day, Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution are portrayed as a refutal of the very idea of God. With Darwin biographer James Moore, we learn about the world in which Darwin formulated his ideas and how he took religion seriously.

The Soul in DepressionThe Soul in Depression (released: 1/17/2003) We explore the spiritual aspect of clinical depression and its aftermath with author Andrew Solomon, Quaker author and educator Parker Palmer, and poet and psychologist Anita Barrows.

No More Taking SidesNo More Taking Sides (released: 12/14/2006) Robi Damelin lost her son David to a Palestinian sniper. Ali Abu Awwad lost his older brother Yousef to an Israeli soldier. But, instead of clinging to traditional ideologies and turning their pain into more violence, they've decided to understand the other side by sharing their pain and their humanity.

Joe Carter and the Legacy of the African-American SpiritualJoe Carter and the Legacy of the African-American Spiritual (released: 5/9/2003) The spiritual is the source from which gospel, jazz, blues, and hip-hop evolved. It was born in the American South, created by slaves, bards whose names history never recorded. We celebrate the life of Joe Carter, who explored the meaning of the Negro spiritual in word and song — through its hidden meanings, as well as its beauty, lament, and hope.

Seeing Poverty after KatrinaSeeing Poverty after Katrina (released: 9/15/2005) Hurricane Katrina brought urban poverty in America into all of our living rooms. In this program, David Hilfiker tells the story of how poverty and racial isolation came to be in cities across America. He lives creatively and realistically with questions many of us began to ask in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Repossessing VirtueRepossessing Virtue (released: 5/14/2009) Many are grappling with the shame that comes in American culture with the loss of a job, and many are seeking community in old places and new. For some, economic instability — a kind of life on the edge — is not new. They've been cultivating virtues of patience, self-examination, service and good humor that might help us all. We feature the voices of our listeners.

A History of DoubtA History of Doubt (released: 12/11/2003) Poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht has published a sweeping, lyrical history of the world's great doubters, and she shows that the act of questioning, as much as the act of believing, has changed the world.

Desmond Tutu's God of SurprisesDesmond Tutu's God of Surprises (released: 4/29/2010) An intimate and joyous conversation with the Nobel laureate on how his understanding of God and humanity has unfolded — from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission through the violence that marks South Africa today, and even in his friendship with the Dalai Lama.

The Spirit of IslamWhale Songs and Elephant Loves (released: 2/1/2007) Trained as a musician, acoustic biologist Katy Payne was first to discover that humpback whales compose ever-changing song to communicate, and first to understand that elephants communicate with one another across long distances by infrasound. We hear what she has learned about life in this world from two of its largest and most mysterious creatures.

The Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua HeschelThe Spiritual Audacity of Abraham Joshua Heschel (released: 6/5/2008) Born into an esteemed Hasidic family in Poland in 1907, Heschel became a public intellectual and a provocative leader in 1960s America on race, war, and interreligious encounter. We explore his teachings and his legacy for people in our time.

The Body's GraceThe Body's Grace (released: 10/5/2006) An unusual take on the mind-body connection with author and yoga teacher Matthew Sanford. He's been a paraplegic since the age of 13. He shares his wisdom for us all on knowing the strength and grace of our bodies even in the face of illness, aging, and death.

Planting the FuturePlanting the Future (released: 4/6/2006) A 2004 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and native Kenyan, Wangari Maathai was the first African woman to win the award. She is founder of the Green Belt Movement — a grassroots organization that empowers African women to improve their lives and conserve the environment through planting trees.

The Meaning of FaithThe Meaning of Faith (released: 4/11/2003) We examine what it means to be a person of faith with a diverse group of religious writers and thinkers. Born-again Christian and writer Anne Lamott says "Faith is a verb," while Buddhist teacher Sharon Salzberg calls faith "an opening of the heart." Rabbi Lawrence Kushner and Muslim theologian Omid Safi examine why it is so difficult — and so important — to talk about faith in our time.

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25Reflections

Reflections

I remember sitting at work scanning. I have an extremely boring job, and it struck me that I could be doing something productive with my mind, so I plugged in my headphones and started listening to The Soul in Depression. At the time, I was struggling with depression myself. And the further I got into the podcast, the harder it was for me not to cry because everything about it seemed so right, and suddenly it became clear that depression could be beautiful, but that didn't give me license to wallow in it. That particular interview was honestly a changing point in my life.

The story of Jean Vanier about the laughing core member and the visitor who only saw it as sad really touched me. It speaks to the way in which we project so much baggage onto our experience and smother the joy out of it.

The discussion with the military chaplain about how it takes weeks to train someone to kill, and then we dump them from combat scenes onto the streets in 48 hours. That dis-symmetry was shocking news to me and particularly startling: I have trouble adjusting to a vacation after working full-time for a few months, so I can't even imagine the kind of spiritual whiplash experienced by those returning from war.

Krista's interview with Jean Vanier called The Wisdom of Tenderness was one of my favorites, especially because I have some experience working with adults with special needs. I looked through the transcript to find the direct quote to post here, and it gave me chills to read it again. At one point, Jean Vanier talks about his niece who died of AIDs and how, although she claimed to not be a "believer," he was certain she would experience eternal life, alluding to the time she made cakes for some Turkish immigrants in her apartment building. He goes on to explain how once you experience the peace of Jesus, that experience transcends any reasoning or logic we might use to understand the divine.

The bit that follows is incredibly memorable for me:

Mr. Vanier: It's like my little niece who died of AIDS, and she wasn't a believer. She said, 'What it's going to be like?' And I said, 'Well, you're going to fall asleep. And when you wake up, you'll be in such joy, such peace. Something that you've never, never lived before.' And she said, 'But I'm not a believer.' I said, 'But you remember when you're in that apartment in Paris and there were some Turkish immigrants that you make cakes for them. I've always seen you as somebody kind. And so your kindness you'll find, it'll be OK. And then the rest we will discover. It's going to be exciting. It's going to be wonderful.'

Ms. Tippett: This is another something you know, clearly. You know this. And all of your philosophy, all of your studies can't explain that to you, something you know.

Mr. Vanier: Yes. Something that we have experienced — you see, if you just experience somewhere the peace of Jesus, the peace of being with other people, the peace of loving people. Well — and that experience transcends everything, the ideas we might have, because it's that experience where we live trust.

That last quote of Jean Vanier I have written on a paper which I've taped near my bed. It has traveled to three different houses with me already. When I move, it moves with me. It's an incredibly touching moment and everytime I reread the quote it strikes a chord within me that feels something like truth.

It was a show concerning something about the universe and religion and God and how it all fits together. I know that's not much to go on, but I only heard a small portion of the show, and have wondered ever since what the whole story was all about. Thanks.

Oh you know there can't be just one the favorite or even the top ten. Science has taught us to prioritize (ref. Dr DeMazio).

But I so miss that Irish voice of John O"Donohue. I bought all I could find of his recordings-after all poemes are meant to be heard, no!?!

I'm 7th generation Irish and I have a son in law my daughter found in Ireland! So when John speaks of the landscape he came from my people are from that same area too. And even though I am grad school educated I think As I walked those barren glens at dusk that I too would have found the back of my neck prickle! But his insights also reveal the deep Irish thought that academics and mysticism have melded together so curiously.

Being disabled I was so moved by Matt Sanford's shear grit and the rising out of his pain-both spiritual and physical- for I heard in some of his glossed-over speaking that this terrible accident took a heavy toll on his entire family. It has on mine too.

Finally there is Parker Palmer. Simply put I want to stuff his words into my favorite teddy bear (were it still around!) so I could hug it tightly when that ineffable darkness still creeps into me from time to time.

SO! I give no particular order to these in my speaking of faith and I look forward to Being as the sign of good things to come because what has been past has deeply enriched my heart and mind and soul. and I have come round to see myself renewed (to borrow a little from ONE of my favorite poets.)

As I look back at the various SOF programs, there are way too many excellent programs to choose a particular favorite. I am amazed as I listen to programs I have heard before, and hear inspiring words that I had either forgotten or not heard the first time through. As I went through seminary from 2005 to 2009, SOF programs inspired me to think differently and more deeply about a host of topics. As a hospice chaplain, I journey with patients and families at the end of life and am privileged to hear stories of their lives and what made their lives worth living. As this program shifts from speaking of faith to being, I look forward to hearing many more inspiring interviews with distinguished folks exploring different ways of being and living meaning-full lives.

One of my favorite Speaking of Faith shows was about Rumi. I loved the interview with Fatemeh Keshavarz, who beautifully recited Rumi's poetry after eloquently illuminating how his works are firmly planted in the traditions and beliefs of Islam. Absolutely gorgeous.

I am only a sometime listener -- and was only half listening to today's show (9/12/10) -- when I realized you were reviewing past shows and speaking in past tenses. For a few moments I thought you were ending the program and I became upset. This reaction surprised me because I am not a religious person nor a "person of faith" in the common meaning of those words. Upon reflection, I realized that I appreciate the program because it is the one place where I can participate in a conversation about faith without the dogmatic self-righteousness of so many people who identify as "religious." Asking questions about faith, instead of preaching, works for me because it is so human.

I was living in Memphis Tennessee at the time I heard the first Speaking of Faith show. I was a corporate expat with a multinational company, who had been asked to stand-in as an improvised bilingual catechist in a local church with a large Spanish speaking community.

Whale songs and Elephant loves, was the very first show I listened to, which touched a very deep cord inside of me. It legitimized what I had known for a long time in my heart about the deep spirituality of one of my dearest elder friends, Dr. Betty Horner, a "secular" naturalist, passionately devoted to the study of mammals and other living creatures. I was hooked from then on because of the inclusiveness of the format; and its non-judgemental approach to all forms of human activity, praise and expression of awe, solidarity, love, compassion.

There have been many many special moments for me thanks to Speaking of Faith since that first show that became so much a part of the way I relate with the divine. It has inspired me, and provided me with thoughts, vocabulary and quotes that I have applied to engage in fascinating conversations with my children, my husband, my co-workers and my self. Favorite images or vignettes that come to mind (not even recalling the exact name of the particular show) are: gardening in lent and singing christian orthodox hymns, the spirituality of parenting, praising the Lord in the African outdoors, giving one´s life for simplicity in the other side of complexity, mediating, resolving conflict, redeeming the dead with dignity, keeping company to the fading memories of our beloved elders.... and so many others.

As much as I love the name "Speaking of Faith" and as much as I feel a bit nostalgic and sad seeing it morph into what it will become as it evolves into "Being", I look forward to follow "Being" the same.

Thank you for what you do.

Rosa

I have been a listener from the beginning~I first must commend you for the courage to have a program with the word Faith in the title on National Progressive Radio...especially one that LACKS a word like FALLACY, or MISGUIDED, at the same time. ;P My favorite programs include your discussion of depression, a phenomenon I have struggled with since the age of 15...especially illuminating for me was the suggexstion that, the CLOSER ON GETS TO GOD, the more one is made privy to the BITTER CUP, as well as the sweet. Moving to Iowa in Summer 2008 to attempt to earn a Masters of Divinity at an ELCA Seminary, only to find that I may have been called, but not necessarily CHOSEN, has been simultaneouly illuminating, and crushingly f'n SAD. Was it the late, great, Joe Carter, who sang for us? Wow. Desmond Tutu and the dried fruit STILL makes me smile. I felt you would have to do something about the show...u seemed to be running out of ways to talk about God while avoiding Christ like the NPR PLAGUE HE IS! BWAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding! With apologies to the Car Talk Bros, (sorta)~I could jear Jack Spear's, or even Garrison Keiller's scrotum retract as though they just jumped into a cold swimming pool whenever YOU said it....I will miss SPEAKING O' FAITH, even as I start making "TAKE A BATH, HIPPIE!" references when you say, "Being". God Bless You All, Janet C. Drennan

I discovered Speaking of Faith only this year (2010). A friend suggested I listen in as we share a love of podcasts. I tell everyone about SOF; I tell them this is my idea of the perfect podcast. It is like going to church for me; it speaks to my soul, my spirit, my intellect, my curiosity.

Though it is very hard to say I have a favorite show, many stand out in my memories. I loved the interview with Janna Levin, and now wish to know more about her and her work.

I loved the interview with Fatemeh Keshavarz on The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi. Ms. Keshavarz helped me to know Rumi even better than I had previously.

I could go on. Thank you to Krista and the gang for bringing me/us some of the best programming to be found. I look forward to listening to the new show, Being. Best of luck!!!

I will never forget the first time I heard your program interviewing John O'Donohue. I was driving on my way to a personal retreat, and I had to pull the car to the side of the road as he read his poems "Beannacht" and "For A Friend, At the Arrival of Illness." I was so moved by his wisdom and imagery, particularly his depiction of depression. His words framed my retreat time, and I have loved his poetry ever since.

But really, the list goes on. I have had so many "Driveway Moments" listening to this show, it is impossible to count! The Thich Nhat Hanh show, the one with Seane Corne on yoga, your whole series on the economy and how we might live differently, Barbara Kingsolver on the ethics of food, Shane Claiborne (it's nice to hear a younger voice on the show, though I might be biased--he's a friend of mine!) Anyway, THANK YOU, and I hope that your good work continues under the new name.

On the transition of names: Faith to Being.
I’ve listened to Krista’s show for many years now in the groggy Sunday morning hour between waking and my first cup of coffee. I don’t set my alarm anymore. I somehow just wake up at 7, and push the earbud in one ear from the player next to my bed that is always tuned to WNPR. That way, I don’t wake my wife, who has the gift of sleeping in.
This morning, I listened as Krista Tippet tried to explain what amounts to the obsolescence of Faith and the ascendency of Being.
Speaking of Faith has become my surrogate for church services. Not for community, though; just for the part of church service where the message is supposed to be delivered.
For community, I have hooked up with a small group of current and former Catholics, with whom we have lived, worked, and worshipped together for a lot of years, bringing up our kids together, sending them off in the world, watching our parents age and die. We get together about once a month to have dinner, to swap stories, to think, to reflect, and in our better moments, to pray. We read together. Scripture, poetry, and “Einstein’s God” are in scope. We remain the two or three or twelve or so gathered in His name, because that’s what we have.
Doubt has become a factor in the community. It started with un-reconcilable differences with the church. It has moved in many directions since. Doubt casts a shadow over what we might otherwise believe, how we might practice that belief, and what we explain to ourselves, our children and grandchildren.
Doubt has led to the obvious rejections. We reject blind obedience to a practice, or a tradition for sake of the tradition. We reject the false righteousness that claims its legitimacy from a narrow interpretation of scripture; and we reject any authority who claims they are righteous just because they once read, or touched, or currently wave a Bible, or claim to have had a chat with God. We have come to understand that deeds are more important than words; and the deeds of many of our religious leaders don’t match their message, and have misled their flock. We reject the comfort of an unexamined life.
What is left after all this rejection, though? Two opposing forces… Faith and Doubt.
Doubt can be healthy, and can encourage debate. Doubt can be a conduit to a more nuanced truth. But in its darker moments, doubt unchecked has its own false righteousness. Doubt will stifle the spark of faith.
Doubt is easy. Faith is hard.
I need my Sunday morning dose of Speaking of Faith. For me as a person in doubt, and for a people bombarded with doubt, we need precisely this: to speak of faith. To take on that hard topic, to give it flesh, and in doing so restore the balance. A disturbing thing was Krista’s admission that Speaking of Faith is changing its name partly because “Faith” is and always has been controversial, divisive, and uncomfortable in the NPR community. Since when is this a problem?
Despite my troubles, I am Christian, and Catholic; so let me try to explain this from the Jesus perspective. Look as what has happened to what purports to be Christian radio. In seeking not to offend the base of the radical right wing from which it is funded, Christian radio has largely succumbed to unabashed pandering to a political fringe, tied up in a movement that Christ himself would reject. What witness remains of Jesus living within us today, actively seeking forgiveness, acceptance of the stranger, non-violence, self-sacrifice, caring for the poor, the sick, the prisoner, the Samaritan, the “other” who is not like us, not from our family or religion or culture or county? Who will choose Love and Truth in action over words? Where is the forum in which these amazing people can share themselves and their innermost Faith... without first having to pass a purity-in-message test?
Until this morning, we have had a particularly powerful witness; that a mostly disinterested organization such as NPR would allow an hour of this controversial format, which actually embraced our human longing for Faith, and call it out by name. Every week, SOF has found practitioners of Faith in all its facets to interview and inspire us. Now, the hour has surrendered this high ground to a watered down concept of “being”. Much of the power of Speaking of Faith is in the name.
“Being” gives fodder to the critics, and comfort to the cynics. There is no challenge in “Being”. We all are being. The challenge is to explore Faith, not to give in to the fear of alienating or offending, by speaking of Faith. Fear is the currency of bad religion, of divisive politics, of ignoble behavior, of class and tradition. Not the driver for a great hour in radio.
For sake of my morning tradition, for sake of the weakness of my faith and the balance I hope for, I will continue to tune in. What lies ahead may be strong; but as a witness, it is diminished.

I mean, c’mon. Would Car Talk be as compelling if it were named “Moving”?
Faithfully yours,
Mark Meyering

My favorite moment was during Krista's interview with Seane Corne when Seane describes how breathing during yoga becomes a form of prayer for her. She describes how exhaling becomes an offering of the best she can be to whomever she is caring about at the moment. Sometimes I feel like I need to give so much of myself all the time to the people I love, and it provided an alternate perspective to me that maybe all I have to do is breath, not trying to be perfect, but giving just what I have at that moment, even if that is only my breath.

On today's program,one of your guests expressed frustration that charity is handled by writing a check and not connecting with people. As a woman who has escaped from an abusive husband, I wanted to help with the local agency meeting the needs of abused women. I met with the woman whom I thought I was the volunteer coordinator. (I later learned that she really didn't have authority to sign up volunteers.) She listened enthusiastically to my ideas about bringing facts about domestic abuse to the attention of the community and signed me up to be on the Advisory Board. I was fired up to make a difference in at least one small corner of the country. I attended two, maybe three, meetings. The Advisory Board's function in stopping domestic violence was - fundraising. They were excited about departing from thier usual annual event and having their first ever - fashion show. The discussion was about hall rentals and menu selections. I felt l ike I had entered a different dimension. A pretty little tea party was being planned, glossing over an ugly victimization. All of that time and energy expended on organizing a fashion show that could have been used in educating the community and reaching women who think there is no help for them. That organization has bought into the idea that donors won't donate unless they get something in return. While it IS doing good work and helping many families, how much more could be done if the focus was changed from stroking donors to connecting with people? What is it about the American psyche that stays in the shallow water of breakfasts for charity and silent auctions for accident victims and avoids the deeper water of gutsy connections?

Although singling out any one show is difficult, I have listened and listened again to the Repossessing Virtue series. I was also profoundly moved by the show featuring John O'Donohue's poetry and beautiful, expressive words. And I keep the SOF Extra interview with Rachel Naomi Remen on my iPod so I can keep absorbing her voice and wisdom. Most recently, I resonated strongly with the discussion on "Life, Land and the Poetry of Creatures," so I suggested my husband listen to Krista's interview with Ellen Davis. He thoughtfully gifted me a copy of the book featured on SOF for our wedding anniversary this past weekend.

I discovered Speaking of Faith when my mother had passed away in Minnesota. I had just accepted a position in San Francisco eleven months prior and while we spoke a few days before her death, I did not get a chance to be with her in those months as her illness was progressing. She was only 56 and it had been the most devastating trauma of my life. As I tried to understand her death that week, SOP came on the car radio--it was Krista's interview with Eckhart Tolle. Through my own grief, which was so debilitating, this program was a true comfort.

That night, back at the hotel, I went to the website and found more programs that seem to speak directly to me in that moment and immediately subscribed to the podcast. I found it to be a gift placed in my lap from God.

From Mary Doria Russel's discussion of her novels to Jacqueline Novogratz's 'patient captolism' the range of stories and interviews always remains compelling. Many of these stories I listen to over and over again! Speaking of Faith continues to bring me insight, comfort, and new perspectives in the meaning of my own life and the life of others.

I have immersed myself in the archives this past summer as I spent so much time at home waiting for school to begin. I am embarking on new studies and have been deeply moved and inspired by almost all the shows. I am continually amazed at finding a new show and hearing its deep relevant message. I cried out loud when I heard the late great John O'Donahue read his poetry and his thoughts on life! I was also immensely touched by Palmer Parker and have since looked into his retreats. I have been changed by shows such as with Bill McKibben and have since joined his 350 movement. The New Monastic show also knocked me out as I myself am part of a spiritual community and appreciate the positive force of community as family and shared responsibility in a time of desperation and loneliness. Other notable voices that strike a chord with me are Dr Oz and Rachel Naomi Remen, because I am a healer and their work is ground breaking. I also want to add that I love the music that is used and offered in its full length.

Just wanted to say that I love the new title and I appreciate the direction that the show is taking. Thank you for Being!

in response to Sept 12 show, I wrote the following: Peace like a river . . .

Peace sailed out on songs.
When peace was a river and truth was on our side. After a sea change, the wars no longer political Now, more like priests and rabbis and imams caught in a brawl.

Every side says they got it right.
Each side says everything will be alright.
Just sail on the night and fight Just stay and fight.

Dressed, gathered in freedom’s gowns It has never been the same since.
When peace like a river flowed from every ship’s sail.
And each side said they got it right.

Pirates are no threat to crosses, David’s stars, and burqas.
Each side says they got it right.
Everybody says it will be alright.

That acrid, metal taste in the back of the throat, Where bile and blood and forced air combine to
Drown out the sounds and sink the feeling.

Everybody says it will be alright.
It has never been the same since,
When peace like a river flowed And each side got it right.

Written and submitted by Frank Van Dinther 9.12.10

Hi. I am on a serious un-watched backlog of what will soon be the Being podcasts. However, I took time to break away from continuity and listen to the latest episode anyway.

Primarily, I am a Christian, but I have "pagan" leanings. I have an aversion to the "New Age" label, even if I harness my understanding of the zodiac, tarot card archetypes and people reading skills. Someone called me a "closet pagan" and I thought that this was offensive. Before I could react further, I realized that I couldn't disagree.

I go to church occasionally, and I subscribe to podcasts from Relevant Magazine and Mars Hill in Michigan. Both podcasts were eye opening and led me to a bigger understanding of the world. This bigger understanding then led me to my current state: a near lapsing Christian. Not that I have begun to doubt what I learn from Mars Hill or Relevant altogether.

Then I heard a snippet of Bishop Tutu's interview on the latest podcast. I haven't exposed myself to the extent of his work or of his knowledge, but I consider him to be one of my heroes. I could feel my belly laugh as he was teasing Krista about dried fruit. Then when he prayed, I felt my heart being tugged at. Like a pull to believe in something bigger without trying to understand why the people who embody a certain belief system seem to act differently. You can say my faith was renewed this evening. Thank you so much for doing what you're doing!

Listening to Krista's retrospective introducing the change from SOF to Being
was like taking a walk back through my own spiritual journey over the years, and
made me realize what an important role SOF has played in my thought life. Thank
you all for the gift of the important work, which you do so well.

Having listened to what is now On Being for a few years, I initially was nervous taking on my faith - and thus the old title scared me. Going through confirmation at my church and in my previous religious life, I had never thought about what I believed. Once I began to listen to Speaking of Faith initially through archived shows, I started thinking deeply about my own faith. Now, as an active high school-age member of my church, I had always enjoyed helping those less fortunate than myself, but the question of my place in the universe and God's existence had never puzzled me. But as I examined the doctrinal issues - very clearly discussed in the shows - it made me tune out. The shows about science, although, enchanted me: I believe we can examine us - humans - but issues of trinity, communion, and other issues which divide Christians always seemed just plain phony. Shows about helping others, and especially its benefits psychologically, instead, made me feel religious. For, the one truly religious experience I have ever have was when I was cleaning a nasty refrigerator at a food bank in a poor part of St. Louis. Having religious experiences different from what others talked about, the scope of how I define faith has changed: It now includes my religious experiences - without the shame of a lack of understanding of the theological issues I initially believed were what faith was.

It was seven years ago our life long Christian understanding and overall view of God started to change. Now we find ourselves totally separated from the Christian church, simply from our expanding view of God. Life was much easier with family members and friends when we went along with the Christian beliefs of God, but now, there is tension when we question what we have been taught about God. Not sure where to connect to others, we find ourselves isolated and alone on this path now. It has been difficult, but we are thankful for were we are now.

The scientist, Carl Sagan told my generation on TV about Hope for our Pale Blue Dot. Years later, any ideas about his being a professed atheist wither — in the light of his being to the end a sincere but skeptical scientist. Carl told us that when Galileo recanted to the Inqusition, he admitted to them that "the Earth is at the Center." Today that makes one muse on whether Galileo and his friend, Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, came to a "practical understanding" whicn human language could readily support — and that could happen — perhaps without "pushing the language to its edges?" Galileo was "shown the instruments of torture" and the story is that he capitulated to the Inquisition. That may be true.

It was noteworthy that one of the very first actions of the newly elected Pope John Paul II was to call for a commission to revisit the Inquisition Trial of Galileo. The comission's outcome was a vindication of the truth of Galielo's original assertion that "the Earth moves, not the Sun" which, at the time, supported Nicholas Copernicus' mathematical calculations. Now Niklaus Kopernik was a Polish Mathematician and Astronomer from Krakow, who figured out what was "mathematically going on" between the Earth an the Sun and the other Planets, before Galileo "went public," which percipitated his Inquisition trial. I'm not trying to re-write history (but I profess to beliving in Story — Good Story). Just thinking here how Carl Sagan still acknowledged that for all we know, and persist in knowing, it is we humans who continue to experience and to be offered the Greatest Show on Earth from a front-row-center seat. Nothing else comes close, or can come close. THAT's US. That's what we got. It's the way it is.

Are we at "this center" for any special purpose? Who knows? I feel we have a formidable responsibility to come to terms with our being at this center — because accepting our location comes with that classical purpose: our awsome Agony in the Garden — of here, and now, in this place, at this time — in seeing The Cup, and its call to offer our life to it.

So, I believe that what each of us chooses to do, and how we do it, somehow COUNTS....

Life is Sweet; Life is Good.

DESMOND TUTU: "Come Holy Spirit, and enkindle the hearts of your faithful. Send forth your spirit, and they shall be created; and they shall renew the face of the Earth."
All the Gifts of This Day, and of many more New Years to come, be with you. Amen.

I summarize that the Christain faith has come along way, at this time many have said the end of the world would come in the 20th century, we are in the 7th millennium, Jehovah sabbath. I wondering is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, it was in God's garden of Eden, it his Tree. The heritage, culture and knowledge evolved since the Garden of Eden that Mankinds civilization continues. And is it like the Apostle Paul said, if we did not have the resurrection hope we would be in vain. Yet we look to the 1st century Christains, they never taught the Trinity doctrine. Jesus Christ said in John 20:17, I am going my father and your father, my God and your God. Can we say that Constantine, who was barely a christain Pontifix Maxims, (brigde maker between heaven), beseech the latter day christain scholars to establish a trinue god, in christain worship. Restrospectvely we see the flourishing of civilization. Because the end of the world did not come, today modern society has become liberal, immoral, and in case in point after acquiring the refined code of conduct, abandon christain faith for human rights that cross the boundary of right and wrong-homosexuality, sexual illicitness, which use to be a minority in values by going public, mass media. What will be come of the human character? What is the mental workings or mechanism, the spiritual sphere in ones head. Will Righteousness rule in the personal conduct of citizens in society?

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